LONDON: BBC anchor Maryam Moshiri was caught on camera giving the middle finger in what appeared to be a private joke gone wrong.
A video capturing the incident quickly went viral on the internet, showing Moshiri raising her eyebrows and making the gesture as she appeared on screen at the beginning of Wednesday’s midday news bulletin.
Realizing she was live on air, Moshiri swiftly retracted her hand, transitioning into reading the headlines with composure. “Live from London, this is BBC News,” she stated, reverting to a traditional news anchor stance.
Been a while since a middle finger gesture made it on to BBC News... pic.twitter.com/eS5hOJ0PYY
— Clean Feed @ The TV Room (@cleanfeed_ttvr) December 6, 2023
The incident garnered widespread attention on social media, prompting Moshiri to address the matter and issue an apology.
In an explanatory post, she revealed that she was “having a private joke” with her friends in the gallery, involving a countdown with her fingers culminating in the potentially offensive gesture.
“Hey, I’m so sorry about this. I was having a private joke with the team in the gallery and pretending to count down as the director was counting me down from 10-0 … including the fingers to show the number,” the presenter said in a post on X.
“When we got to 1 I turned finger [sic] around as a joke and did not realise that this would be caught on camera.
“It was not my intention for this to happen and I’m sorry if I offended or upset anyone. I wasn’t ‘flipping the bird’ at viewers or even a person really,” she said.
Hey everyone , yesterday just before the top of the hour I was joking around a bit with the team in the gallery.
I was pretending to count down as the director was counting me down from 10-0.. including the fingers to show the number. So from 10 fingers held up to one.
— Maryam Moshiri (@BBCMaryam) December 7, 2023
The Tehran-born journalist has been one of the BBC News channel’s chief anchors since she was promoted in February. She has worked for the British broadcaster for more than 20 years.
The incident also comes as the UK government confirmed “woke warrior” veteran TV executive Samir Shah was their preferred candidate to take over as BBC chair.